ASK FATHER: ” I feel that my Faith is just being torn apart”

From a reader…


Given with the view of the Holy Father regarding Mary thru this remarks, how should we read between the lines in this statement of the Holy Father? I’m confused.

Yet I am more terrified of what’s happening with the Church and of her future with bad bishops and clergy. I feel that my Faith is just being torn apart, piece by piece. Yet because of the Divine Promise, Tu Es Petrus, I’m assured that this is a storm we need to go under to purify the Church with it’s bad ministers.

You write: “I feel that my Faith is just being torn apart, piece by piece.”

No, dear reader.  It is not.  What you are seeing are the machinations of some highly placed people who are intent on changing the Church from within.   They don’t have THE FAITH to tear it apart.  They can’t tear apart what they don’t have.  That doesn’t mean that they can’t sow confusion.  But they can’t touch THE FAITH.  The FAITH is greater than they are.  The FAITHFUL are too.  You, as a faithful Catholic, have great power with your prayers and your acts of reparation.

If you hear a bunch of rubbish from someone, ignore it.   You can find THE FAITH in the pages of the Catechism of the Council of Trent and in the Catechism of the Catholic Church as well as in a number of other great sources, such as the writings of great saints, especially Doctors of the Church.

Now to the news, and your concern, that Francis thinks Mary was “a normal girl”.

Let me say from the onset that, in interviews, people can say things that aren’t entirely thought through.  In the moment they intend to underscore something, but, also in the moment, they express themselves awkwardly and, because of time restrictions, can’t add all the caveats and clarifications.

Let me also say that Francis says that he has a devotion to Mary, “Undoer of Knots”.  He stops after trips at Santa Maria Maggiore to visit the wondrous icon of Mary, Salus Populi Romani.    He established the Feast of Mary, Mother of the Church.  TODAY, 12 October, is the Feast of Mary, Mother of the Church.

We read at La Stampa that in a book-interview, Francis described the Blessed Virgin Mary as “a normal girl”.

The Italian daily Corriere della Sera has anticipated some excerpts of Bergoglio’s new book: “From the moment she was born until the Annunciation, to the moment she encountered the angel of God, I imagine her as a normal girl, a girl of today[?!?  Who had never committed even a venial sin.  The only one conceived without any stain of any kind of sin.  Immaculate.  “Singular vessel of devotion… Queen of Angels…”… you know, “normal”.] I can’t say she a city-girl, because she is from a small town, but normal, educated normally, open to marrying, to starting a family. [Is that what “girls of today” are like?] One thing I imagine is that she loved the Scriptures: she knew the Scriptures, she had done catechesis in a family environment, from the heart. [Does that descibe a normal girl of today?   Sorry, but if that’s the case the WHY DID WE NEED THIS SYNOD?!?] Then, after the conception of Jesus, she was still a normal woman: [Who conceived by the Holy Spirit and remained a virgin.] Mary is normal, she is a woman that any woman in this world can imitate. No strange things in life, a normal mother: even in her virginal marriage, chaste in that frame of virginity, Mary was normal. She worked, went shopping, helped her Son, helped her husband: normal”.  [That’s just doing stuff.  Those tasks don’t touch on who she is in a more profound way.  In a way this reflects the thoughts of those who reduce the priesthood to tasks, without consideration of the ontological character of the priest.  If priesthood is to be reduced to stuff the priest does, then it would make sense to choose as priests anyone who could do those things well, man, woman,… indeterminate.]

Emphasizing Mary’s rootedness in the people, Francis takes up one of the recurrent themes of his pontificate. “Normality is living among the people and like the people. It is abnormal to live without roots in a people, without connection with a historical people. In such conditions a sin – very much liked by Satan, , our enemy- is born : the sin of the elite. [?] The elite does not know what it means to live among the people and when I speak of the elite I do not mean a social class: I speak of an attitude of the soul. One can belong to a Church elite. But, as the Council says in Lumen Gentiumthe Church is the faithful holy people of God. The Church is the people, the people of God. And the devil likes the elite. [Sorry… but I can’t help you with that.] 

“The re-creation begins with Mary, with a single woman,” [“single” in what sense?  Single as in “not married”?  Single as in “just one of many”?] says Pope Bergoglio. “Let’s think of the single women who run the house, who alone raise their children. [Whoa!  Mary was NOT a single mother.] Mary is even more alone. Alone, she begins this story, which continues with Joseph and the family; but at the beginning recreation is the dialogue between God and a single woman. Alone in the moment of proclamation and alone the moment her Son died”.  [And yet she is the icon of the Church.]

Were I to be asked to talk about Mary, it wouldn’t even enter into my mind to describe her as “normal”.

Again, in an interview you might want to underscore one issue without having time to add everything else that could be said, especially about a super rich theme.

May we, please, take a moment for the Litany of Loreto on this Feast of Mary, Mother of the Church?

Lord have mercy.
Christ have mercy.
Lord have mercy.
Christ hear us.
Christ graciously hear us.

God, the Father of heaven,
have mercy on us.

God the Son, Redeemer of the world,
God the Holy Spirit,
Holy Trinity, one God,

Holy Mary,
pray for us.
Holy Mother of God,
Holy Virgin of virgins,
Mother of Christ,
Mother of the Church,
Mother of divine grace,
Mother most pure,
Mother most chaste,
Mother inviolate,
Mother undefiled,
Mother most amiable,
Mother admirable,
Mother of good counsel,
Mother of our Creator,
Mother of our Saviour,
Mother of mercy,
Virgin most prudent,
Virgin most venerable,
Virgin most renowned,
Virgin most powerful,
Virgin most merciful,
Virgin most faithful,
Mirror of justice,
Seat of wisdom,
Cause of our joy,
Spiritual vessel,
Vessel of honour,
Singular vessel of devotion,
Mystical rose,
Tower of David,
Tower if ivory,
House of gold,
Ark of the covenant,
Gate of heaven,
Morning star,
Health of the sick,
Refuge of sinners,
Comfort of the afflicted,
Help of Christians,
Queen of Angels,
Queen of Patriarchs,
Queen of Prophets,
Queen of Apostles,
Queen of Martyrs,
Queen of Confessors,
Queen of Virgins,
Queen of all Saints,
Queen conceived without original sin,
Queen assumed into heaven,
Queen of the most holy Rosary,
Queen of families,
Queen of peace.

Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world,
spare us, O Lord.

Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world,
graciously hear us, O Lord.

Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world,
have mercy on us.

Pray for us, O holy Mother of God.
That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray.
Grant, we beseech thee,
O Lord God,
that we, your servants,
may enjoy perpetual health of mind and body;
and by the intercession of the Blessed Mary, ever Virgin,
may be delivered from present sorrow,
and obtain eternal joy.
Through Christ our Lord.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. JabbaPapa says:

    I found myself this evening in the midst of a public Masonic event — yes, these are rare.

    Four dancers were there on stilts, two in the guise of horned pagan “deities” with goat feet and horns, hyper-sexualisation, etc ad nauseam, whilst the other two were in the guise of provocatively sexualised catamites promenading their generative organs at eye level, and adorned with blood-red tattered “wings” that seemed as those of the fallen angels in the burning of their ejection from Heaven into Hell.

    Accompanying this outrageous display, a cacophony of pseudo-“music” made of chaotic clanging, amelodic pseudo-techno muzak background, and nonsensical and aimless saxo achieving nothing of beauty.

    But through this frankly incompetently organised event, I think I’ve finally realised what it is that Freemasonry seeks to “achieve” …

    They seek the institution of Chaos with a fake superficial “structure” of “order” that they will completely 100% control.

    It’s NOT a “New World Order” — it’s a “New World Disorder”.

    It needs to be destroyed.

  2. JabbaPapa says:

    Otherwise, the Pope’s characterisations of Saint Mary, the Virgin Mother of God, are utterly scandalous.

    They are entirely Protestant in character and in ideology and in doctrine.

    They overtly and directly contradict the Scripture. (Let alone the Deposit of Faith and the Wisdom of the Church Fathers … )

  3. Npgh says:

    Please don’t dispare. I try to not pay too much attention to the bad news out of the Vatican. I keep my head down, keep praying and saying the Rosary. You probably have enough to do everyday to keep you focused on other things than the bad news. And I pray the litany of Loreto after the Rosary before Mass begins. Then to the Litany to St. Joseph. It dosen’t seem like Joseph gets enough attention these days.

  4. Atra Dicenda, Rubra Agenda says:

    I dont remember the “sin of the elite” being discussed in the rather extensive pages of the Summa….

  5. JabbaPapa says:

    Pope Francis : “Then, after the conception of Jesus, she was still a normal woman

    This is particularly obscene.

    I have seen Mary, in her Spiritual Pregnancy of the Christ, and alone amongst all Creatures, she alone has borne the Godhood Himself within her own flesh and blood.

    It is grotesque and objectively false to suggest that her Motherhood of God might (100% ideologically BTW) somehow be just some banal incident of human biology.

    Of course — what the Pope has suggested is the Arian Heresy in its very ESSENCE.

  6. WVC says:

    It’s almost as if Pope Francis defines his entire thought process and style of communication upon the principle that his expressed beliefs must be as different from traditionally understood doctrine as possible. It really is a personification of the “spirit” of Vatican II. God help us.

  7. WVC says:

    I should add, especially to the original poster, that now is the time the Church needs good and faithful laity more than ever. You do NOT abandon the one you love when they are in distress, being abused, or in the power of evil men. Even if you are not in a position to actively stop the harm being done, we STAY and SUPPORT the one we love with all our might. If your loved one is dying from cancer, you are powerless to thwart the terrible disease pulling her body apart one piece at a time. Just because you can’t shrink down to size to thrash the terrible cancer cells yourself doesn’t mean you ABANDON your loved one. You stay with her. You pray. You support her. And you do everything you can, whatever that may be.

    People – DESPAIR in this game means letting the bad guys win. Growing DESPONDENT means letting the wicked men have their way with Holy Mother the Church. That thought shouldn’t sadden you – it should embolden you. DOUBLE-DOWN on your faith! Renew your commitment to the Church. Yes, it is painful, and the pain is real, but the pain should not stop you from walking side by side with the Church on the way to Calvary. It doesn’t matter what bad news comes down the pike to knock you down – GET BACK UP and KEEP WALKING.

    That doesn’t mean one throws prudence out the window. I strongly support the notion that corrupt bishops do not deserve our financial support. Support the Church with your love and prayers, but do what you will (or won’t) with the men who were charged with protecting her and have instead betrayed her.

  8. Man-o-words says:

    Once, just once, can our Dear Pontiff simply state doctrine? If Mary, the Mother of our creator is just “normal”, why bother going to Mass, fasting, or all this other stuff that is unpleasant?

    “When men believed they descended from Angel’s, they strove to be angelic. When men began to believe he was descended from apes, he began to act like a Monkey.”

    Yeah, Mary was just normal. There is something to aspire to . . .

  9. JabbaPapa says:

    On the other hand …

    Da nobis, quaesumus, Domine,
    Imitari quod colimus,
    Ut discamus & inimicos diligere :
    Quia ejus natalitia celebramus,
    Qui novit etiam pro perfectutoribus exorare
    Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum Filium tuum :
    Qui tecum vivit & regnat
    In initate Spiritus sancti.

  10. Elizabeth D says:

    I find Mary unimaginable. The otherworldly devotional imagery of her does make her unrelatable. I think it does have something to do with the Mary of devotion being apparently so different than anyone I have to compare her to. I know when I was growing up she seemed to be somehow very different than normal humans, in some way I did not understand. When I was a young child I thought a virgin was the supernatural type of being that Mary was (I never heard anyone else called a virgin, and when a kid at school in about 3rd grade asked me “are you a virgin?” and I gave them a strange look and said of course “No!” and they said “Ewww!” then surmised I had no idea what it meant and told me–I was shocked and grossed out that there was a word for a woman who hadn’t had sex, and the inappropriateness of such a category to a child like me. Based on how I had always heard the word used, I assumed that it had to do with Mary’s supernatural prerogatives that I wasn’t able to apply it to anyone else. No adult actually ever defined to me what that meant. When I was an adolescent or teen my mom asked me one time if I knew what that meant and I said I did (recalling that kid telling me). I was left guessing why Mary was apparently bizarrely continually referred to with that off-putting descriptor–I concluded it had to do with strongly asserting the supernaturality of Jesus’ conception. Although I was raised nominally Catholic I lost my faith about age 12 and no one ever taught me what Catholics believe about marriage or chastity so I didn’t particularly see it as a moral concept (to me, being a virgin did not imply either being chaste or having a clue about chastity). I had no idea that was the important thing about being a woman and am still basically flabbergasted. Still to this day I am so often struck by the strangeness of continually referring to Mary in such a way and have thought many times about why–it has never seemed normal to me–yet I’ve never seen anyone else ask outright “why is Mary referred to as a virgin practically every time she is spoken of?” I have various theories, it may be a complicated combination of factors including how men think about women (which is totally unnerving and distressing for a woman to realize it suggests men focusing on such specifics of sexual organs, it is honestly hard to see how this is compatible with women’s, even Mary’s, dignity) which may have to do with how hard it is to imagine how the opposite sex thinks, and various doctrinal battles over the years that could most strongly be defended by this frequent reiteration, and that if someone does have a knowledge of sexual morality it comes to have a potential meaning about the woman’s positive moral character, though this was not intuitive to me since to me since being a virgin did not imply to me the person was chaste or had much of a clue about chastity. I do find it difficult to imagine the real person Mary amidst the ideas and imagery about Mary. So at any rate I think Pope Francis is trying to make Mary imaginable, that you could use the image of women you actually have known to think of her. If you can’t do that then all you have is very otherworldly images of her.

  11. The Masked Chicken says:

    Even Wordsworth, a staunch Church of England type, knew better:

    The Virgin

    Mother! whose virgin bosom was uncrost
    With the least shade of thought to sin allied.
    Woman! above all women glorified,
    Our tainted nature’s solitary boast;
    Purer than foam on central ocean tost;
    Brighter than eastern skies at daybreak strewn
    With fancied roses, than the unblemished moon
    Before her wane begins on heaven’s blue coast;
    Thy image falls to earth. Yet some, I ween,
    Not unforgiven the suppliant knee might bend,
    As to a visible Power, in which did blend
    All that was mixed and reconciled in thee
    Of mother’s love with maiden purity,
    Of high with low, celestial with terrene!

    Let me just say that what Pope Francis has written is NOT magisterial. Indeed, it beggars logic. Sure, Mary is a “normal” girl if one looks at her number of arms and legs, but she did not aspire to marriage. The Presentation of Mary in the Temple, even if non-Canonical, is a venerable tradition. She was, is, and always will be a virgin in the order of nature. Indeed, she understood the connection between marriage and procreation and was totally dedicated to God. Yes, she was married to St. Joseph as her protector, but her marriage was the first singular marriage decidedly NOT dedicated to the begetting of children by the one to whom she was married, in this life. She went into the marriage knowing this. Otherwise, one is committing the Protestant heresy denying Mary’s perpetual virginity and claiming she could or did have other children. She didn’t. She couldn’t. I suspect (a private opinion) that any other baby touching her womb, the Ark of the New Covenant, would have been killed. So, no. She is not like other girls with regards to marriage. She was not open to starting a family (in the “normal” sense of the word). After Jesus was born, she was still, not a normal woman, except in the most inane sense. She was the Theotokos. Let any other normal girl dare to claim that title!

    She is not like other girls with regards to sin. Normal girls are born in Original sin. Mary was not. No strange things in life?? I think seeing your son violate the Law of Conservation of Matter by converting water into wine is certainly strange. Her life is extraordinary. Apparently, the Pope does not get the difference in that Mary’s life is normal – for the Mother of God, but if anyone else can claim to be in that class, then he should let us know who. What is normal for Mary simply is not normal for any other female on the planet. She is, of necessity, in a class by herself. She is normal for her class, but it has a population of one. Every other female is normal for a girl born of Original sin who will never bear the Son of God. Good grief!! If Mary were a normal girl, why bother with St. Joseph? Any dude would do.

    Mary walked among the people, but it was by her profound humility that she was elevated above other people. She was not rooted in the people except that she was a Jew. Indeed, the Jews were the elite of the time, when it came having a relationship with God. Pope Francis has never seen a humble elite? Does he know that when he uses the word, elite, he really means proud. In the sense that Mary was the best definition of purely human humility that we will ever know, she was not elite in social status, but, nevertheless, she stands above mere humanity as the elite of our race – Nature’s solitary boast, by virtue of that humility. She IS the Elite in virtue.

    Apparently, Pope Francis just doesn’t know how to use language with precision. Indeed, Christ said, “Those who are humble will be exalted.” The boorish elite of which Pope Francis refers are the Proud. There is nothing wrong with being elite, if humility is carried with it. I am so sick and tired of the bad-mouthing of the elite or the idea of being elite. Mary was elite – she was so elite that she was assumed, body and soul into Heaven. The evil Elite of today are just that – tending towards evil or, rather, steeped in the sin of pride, but calling them the elite because they are rich or famous or smart or beautiful or whatever is misusing the term. Elite doesn’t refer to mere social status. Elite means bring at the top of their class in some attribute. Mary was elite in holiness. Likewise, those striving for holiness, become more and more elite even as they become more holy. Traditionalists, however much they fall short, at least know what holiness, the eliteness of virtue, looks like – all they have to do is imitate Mary. They don’t or should never imitate other “normal” girls. That is idolatry;that is pride. That way lies towards becoming elite in evil. If Pope Francis thinks that poor traditionalists, by being traditionalists are striving to become elite in evil, then let him plainly say so, for his denunciations of Traditionalists seem to imply that. He just doesn’t get that elite is a neutral term. It depends on the attribute to which it is applied whether is to be praised or condemned.

    Sorry to get so worked up, but Mary is a real girl, one like us, but so much better. Look up the term, hyperdulia, sometime.

    I leave with the words of something that is magisterial – Lumen gentium, Chapter VIII:

    53. The Virgin Mary, who at the message of the angel received the Word of God in her heart and in her body and gave Life to the world, is acknowledged and honored as being truly the Mother of God and Mother of the Redeemer. Redeemed by reason of the merits of her Son and united to Him by a close and indissoluble tie, she is endowed with the high office and dignity of being the Mother of the Son of God, by which account she is also the beloved daughter of the Father and the temple of the Holy Spirit. Because of this gift of sublime grace she far surpasses all creatures, both in heaven and on earth. At the same time, however, because she belongs to the offspring of Adam she is one with all those who are to be saved. She is “the mother of the members of Christ . . . having cooperated by charity that faithful might be born in the Church, who are members of that Head.”(3*) Wherefore she is hailed as a pre-eminent and singular member of the Church, and as its type and excellent exemplar in faith and charity. The Catholic Church, taught by the Holy Spirit, honors her with filial affection and piety as a most beloved mother.

    The Chicken

  12. HighMass says:

    Just read another Catholic website and one of the topics to read says quotes Bergolio as saying,

    Pope most worried about ‘polite’ demons” funny he should follow his own advice and clean house with his cronies who he has so much trust in. Cupich should be the first to be removed.

    Slight chance of that happening!

  13. Il Ratzingeriano says:

    “And the devil likes the elite.” I think that is plausible. It might explain the way elites find problems such as global warming and plastic in the ocean more pressing than personal holiness and are obsessed with finding ways to approve of homosexual acts.

  14. ex seaxe says:

    I understand Pope Francis’s point to be that Mary behaved in a perfectly ordinary way. To her neighbours she would have seemed just like any of them, except that she would never sin, never slander, no gossiping, no backbiting. She did all the normal things, fetching water from the well, buying in the market, grinding corn. Not only could they not see her as Queen of Angels, neither could Mary herself. When she found herself pregnant without having yet married, she had no idea how things would turn out, sure she could and did trust God, but she did not know that she could trust Joseph. When she lost Jesus after the trip to the temple, she would have been as worried as any mother would, normal. …
    Of course we know how things turned out.

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  16. The Masked Chicken says:

    One more thing…Jesus became man, in part, so that man might be taught by God. Jesus is God and man. This is the Hypostatic Union, but there other hypostatic unions, possible. Mary has a sort of hypostatic union of perfect humility and perfect exaltation.

    Because she is so humble, she belongs to all of us as a mother, without exception. That is what humility does – it makes one common, of the earth, relatable. Mary sets herself above no one, even as she is set above the angels. She is the one with whom angels may freely converse and how much more us lowly mortals, since her humility would have it no other way.

    Mary’s virginity is unique, because she has a son but never knew man. The is why she is called the Virgin Mary. The word, Virgin is always capitalized, for her, because her virginity is connected to something more than mere sex. It indicates a unique relationship with God, her spouse. Just as the burning bush created energy without being consumed, so did Mary give birth without knowing man because of her unique connectedness with a God, who is Being, itself, ever-sustaining, ever creating.

    The Chicken

  17. ProfKwasniewski says:

    Pope Francis could use a Vatican II Refresher Course.

    Lumen Gentium
    “63. By reason of the gift and role of divine maternity, by which she is united with her Son, the Redeemer, and with His singular graces and functions, the Blessed Virgin is also intimately united with the Church. As St. Ambrose taught, the Mother of God is a type of the Church in the order of faith, charity and perfect union with Christ.(18*) For in the mystery of the Church, which is itself rightly called mother and virgin, the Blessed Virgin stands out in eminent and singular fashion as exemplar both of virgin and mother. (19*) By her belief and obedience, not knowing man but overshadowed by the Holy Spirit, as the new Eve she brought forth on earth the very Son of the Father, showing an undefiled faith, not in the word of the ancient serpent, but in that of God’s messenger. The Son whom she brought forth is He whom God placed as the first-born among many brethren,(299) namely the faithful, in whose birth and education she cooperates with a maternal love.”

  18. The Masked Chicken says:

    Oh, dear. I hope I am wrong, but I just realized what Pope Francis’s word are doing. He is describing Mary a member of the proleteriat.

    The Chicken

  19. MrsMacD says:

    I smell a communist. ” The elite does not know what it means to live among the people…” I have a friend who lived in a country that was taken over by communists. Her family was part of the gentry of that country and was shamelessly calumniated by the communist government. They pitted the poor against the rich, many of whom were good Catholics who took care of the poor.

    That aside, Mary is the true normal, as in how we would have been had our first mother never committed the first sin, as in, how we should strive to be with all our hearts. Mary is the new Eve as in our new first mother, the new mother that will give the graces necessary for us to attain eternal life. Mary’s fiat was the culmination of a life of fiats, Mary’s every work was supercharged with love of God, but it’s a simple life that we can imitate. She suffered like we do. She worked like we do. She loved like we do, only more. She presents at one time a bar to reach and a simple approach. God holds Mary up as the woman to look up to because He gives her to us as our Mother, and children imitate their mothers.

    @ Elizabeth D Mary’s virginity is symbolic of her purity, she was never polluted by sin. In ancient Rome the Virgins were special women who lived at the temple. Our Lady needed to marry St. Joseph for her protection, as,at that time, a woman could not safely live alone, but he would have understood that she was to remain a virgin. The virgin who would conceive a child was prophesied about. And Mary questioned the angel who said she would conceive the Messiah, because she had made a covenant with God to remain a virgin. She also gives us the example of consecrated virginity for us to imitate.

    @ex seaxe; “When she found herself pregnant without having yet married, she had no idea how things would turn out, sure she could and did trust God, but she did not know that she could trust Joseph.” Mary was married to Joseph when she conceived Jesus. God would not let our Lady commit scandal. She knew she could trust Joseph, he had already promised to forgo the marriage right. Where do you get these ideas?

    For reading about Mary, I recommend;
    True Devotion to Mary by St. Louis de Montfort
    and The Glories of Mary by St. Alphonses de Ligouri
    And about St. Joseph;
    The Life and Glories of St. Joseph

  20. SanSan says:

    Father, I couldn’t even read all the way through…..puke, ugh, puke…….Lord have mercy. Thank you Father for adding all of the supplication prayers for our sad souls.

  21. SanSan says:

    Our sweet Mother Mary, “knew” everything……read the “Mystical City of God”……..Our sweet mother has been given “the way” to salvation–her son.

  22. Lurker 59 says:

    The maddening aspect about all of this is that the Faith is treated by Pope Francis as if it was no more than a story. What is being woven here, and elsewhere, is a fictionalization of historical persons to serve a political end. You cannot have it both ways — one either seeks to encounter the reality of persons or one seeks to create a fictional story that serves as a vehicle for furthering political ends.

    I fully appreciate how the Questioner feels as if their faith is being pulled from them. The pontificate of St. Pope JPII was very big on the language of “encounter between persons”. One of the slight of hands that has been going on for the last few years is the replacing of the person that one encounters in Faith with a story, a fiction, that is told for political purposes.

    I, for one, though bothered by what Pope Francis said about “Mary”, am bothered because this political fiction indicates that there has not been an encounter with the person of the Theotokos. (Else why would he imply that the single normal “Mary’s” spouse is a deadbeat dad?). We should not let story replace reality.

  23. robtbrown says:


    There is only one hypostatic union: two natures in one hypostasis.

    The union of perfect humility and exaltation that you describe in Mary is not a union of natures or substances (in either sense of the word).

    What you seem to be noting is the relationship between a rational, incorruptible soul and a corruptible body. Despite the substantial union, there is nonetheless an obvious lack of harmony between the two. With the Resurrected Body the soul has received enough grace so that it can communicate its incorruptibility to the Body.

    BTW, St Thomas asks in the Quaestiones Disputatae whether it’s natural for man to die. His answer: Yes and No.

  24. Kathleen10 says:

    Francis should read this column to gain an appreciation of what he is missing in his thoughts about Our Lady. After five years of this, it’s just so obvious, everything must be brought low. If it would pass muster for Protestants, it’s good enough. Catholics know better.

  25. GregB says:

    Christ came both to redeem humankind from its sins, and to establish His Church in the New Covenant ratified in His Own Blood. The Church is called the Mystical Body of Christ. This being the case, the Mystical Body of Christ would be expected to manifest a mystical mode of operation. Mysticism points in turn to the three ways of Contemplative Prayer, the Purgative, the Illuminative, and the Unitive. In a purely human contemplative the way of Contemplative Prayer starts with the Purgative Way, which leads to the Illuminative Way, ending in the Unitive Way, the summit of which St. Teresa of Avila calls the Spiritual Marriage of the Seventh Mansions.
    When we look at the life of Christ it is the mirror image of this progression. His life in mortal flesh starts in the unique union of the Hypostatic Union at the Incarnation and ends in purgation with His Passion and Death on the Cross at Calvary.
    To me the Incarnation is a Prayer of Union. We Catholics call Mary the Spouse of the Holy Spirit. This agrees with the Spiritual Marriage of the Seventh Mansions. The Immaculate Conception and Mary’s Seven Sorrows satisfy the Purgative Way. When you add in Mary’s fiat at the Annunciation this produces the full conformity of wills that makes it possible for her being to be fully illuminated by the overshadowing of the Holy Spirit during the Incarnation. During the Incarnation there was a supernatural exchange from the Holy Spirit to Mary. For the Incarnation to be an act of pure supernatural love Mary had to be able to give herself over to God freely and completely without reservation. Any sin would make the Incarnation an act of imposition and domination and not one of loving union.

    Like Christ, Mary’s publicly recorded ministry starts in union with the Incarnation, and she participates in the Purgative Way with Christ with her Seven Sorrows which ends with Christ’s Passion and Death. Christ and Mary’s lives follow a similar mirror image path. The Last Supper and Christ’s Passion and Death are a mirror image of a normal Passover Seder of the sacrifice of the lamb followed by the Seder. This mystical analysis appears to agree with the Catholic Church’s teaching as to mode of operation of the Immaculate Conception. It all centers on the Death of Christ on the Cross. All points converge on the Cross.

  26. ex seaxe says:

    @MrsMacD ” Where do you get these ideas?” From the Bible, the Gospel according to Saint Matthew. If Joseph did not know what he was going to do, clearly Mary could not know :-
    Mat 1:19 “and her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly.”
    I do not see these as in any way diminishing my devotion to Mary, or my ready acceptance of the titles the church has used for her. If anything a knowledge of how difficult it was for her enhances my devotion. Otherwise some are tempted to say ‘It was alright for her, she was conceived without Original Sin’, NO it was very, very difficult, harrowing.
    Our Lady of Sorrows, pray for us.

  27. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Mary is the world’s only virgin mother, so we would of course call attention to that distinction But it is also her Biblical prophecy title, from Isaiah and the Septuagint sages of translation: “I will give you a sign – the Virgin will bring forth a son.”

    So yeah. Jesus is “the Messiah,” “the Branch,” and so on, and Mary is “the Virgin,” “Daughter Zion,” “the queen… arrayed in gold,” and so forth. Biblical stuff.

  28. The Masked Chicken says:

    Dear robtbrown,

    There is only one Hypostatic Union, capitalized, but hypostasis is a lovely Greek word in common use in the First Century, A. D. and refers to the substructure or substance of something, but it can, also, refer to the substantial quality or nature of a person. The substantial quality of Mary is both her humility and her exaltation, coexistent. Granted, this is more a union of supposed opposites than different essences, so my use of the term hypostatic union, lower case, was a bit of a stretch, but it is hard to come up with a term to express how both states can coexist in one being in perfection.

    Obviously, we all have various admixtures of virtues and vices, but two states, humility and exaltation or elitism that seem so opposite, at least in Pope Francis’s comments, above, one as virtue, one as vice, can really coexist in one person, and seems to mirror, in a weaker sense, to be sure, the conjunction of Godhood and manhood, two completely different substances or natures, that exist in Christ. I realize that humility and exaltation are both in the same category as a moral or relational quality and God and man are in two different categories in actual substance, but both humility/exaltation and God/Man are in opposition as descriptive terms, but nevertheless, joined in union in Mary and Christ, respectively. Oxymoron just doesn’t seem to capture the reality that Mary is humble, but highly exalted. In reality, of course humility and exaltation are only seemingly opposite, but they appear that way in modern discourse given the degenerate use of the term, exalted, to mean the false exaltation which Christ condemned. If you can think of a better term then a union of moral hypostases to describe Mary, I will, happily, use it.

    I do take your admonishment to heart, however. I was trying to make a cool comparison between Mother and Son and I got carried away.

    This should lead to a discussion about why humility makes one exalted and the difference between how God sees things and the world sees things.

    The Chicken

  29. Gaetano says:

    If Pope Francis believes Mary was “alone the moment her Son died,” he needs a remedial class on the Gospel of John. “Mother behold your son.”

  30. MrsMacD says:

    @ex saexe
    A Jewish betrothal was considered a legal marriage. A child concieved during that time was considered legitimate.
    Mary was betrothed to Joseph, yet she, ‘did not know man,’ therefore Joseph must have consented to a virginal marriage before the betrothal.
    How much distress he must have felt, when, having assented to this virginal marriage, he found his beloved bride with child? He resolved to adhere to the law and quietly separate from her, though he did not want to (somewhat like abraham and Issac), then the angel told him not to fear and to accept Mary, his wife.

  31. JabbaPapa says:

    The Masked Chicken :

    There is only one Hypostatic Union, capitalized, but hypostasis is a lovely Greek word in common use in the First Century, A. D. and refers to the substructure or substance of something, but it can, also, refer to the substantial quality or nature of a person. The substantial quality of Mary is both her humility and her exaltation, coexistent. Granted, this is more a union of supposed opposites than different essences, so my use of the term hypostatic union, lower case, was a bit of a stretch, but it is hard to come up with a term to express how both states can coexist in one being in perfection.

    Hypostasis is, fundamentally, the personhood of a person, so that each individual person, including each unborn child, has his own personhood (hypostasis), including the Hypostasis of the unborn Christ within the Womb of His Mother.

    When one talks of the Hypostatic Union of Christ or of the Hypostatic Trinity, this is to say — which is where it gets confusing — simultaneously that each Person of the Divine Trinity is Hypostatically distinct, but also that the Christ is Hypostatically One in His Dual Nature as both True Man and Truly God (this is primarily against the Heresy claiming that the Son merely “inhabited” Jesus of Nazareth, and similar equally complex absurdities).

    It is extremely clear that Saint Mary has her own hypostasis, but then so do you and so do I and so do Father Z and robtbrown and everyone else in here, and whilst it might not be incorrect, philosophically and theologically, to suggests that there is a kind of hypostatic union of all of our own component essences in each of our own individual personhoods, in that our minds, our bodies, and our souls for instance all belong to the same distinct hypostases — nevertheless, to speak of a “hypostatic union” in anyone other than the Christ our Lord will still be confusing, and so should be avoided without careful clarification and explanation, given that the phrase has been attached to our consideration of His Personhood specifically to a very extensive degree.

  32. Elizabeth D says:

    I want to comment i am sorry if I distressed anyone and do not want to disrespect Mary or anyone

  33. The Masked Chicken says:

    Dear Elizabeth D,

    I imagine that many young women would have the same quandaries you had in understanding why Mary’s virginity is something special, given how society understands sex as a mere physical act, these days. We owe it to our children and those we know to explain the spiritual dimensions of sex.

    I did not take your remarks a being disrespectful of Mary. You were expressing a problem you had in understanding the importance of one of Mary’s attributes. I saw it as more an,”I don’t get it,” cry for help to understand. I hope we commenters we’re not too brutal towards you.

    The Chicken

  34. un-ionized says:

    Elizabeth, you’re allowed to use your brain. I have been through a lot of trials about Mary even though she was the one who brought me into the Church and I certainly wouldn’t recommend the books mentioned in a comment above simply because of the dense morass of hyperbole that some of them contain which sounds like heresy to modern ears, such as God hastening to do Mary’s bidding. They need to be read with a special kind of devotion.

  35. Elizabeth D says:

    I did not read all the other comments, this subject matter causes me too much anxiety and I should generally not discuss it here.

  36. acardnal says:

    robtbrown, I always appreciate your responses.

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